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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » The 'Group Play vs Solo Play in an MMO' Thread

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2135 posts found
  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/19/12 4:26:06 PM#1581
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

@Cephus,

It's true that no experienced enterprise is going to take the comments from a few posters on any forum as sufficient evidence of a market to start funding and building a major project. However the idea for what to start to do real market research has to start from somewhere. That can be completely internal or it can come from direct customer feedback or it can come from industry/hobby specific forums like this one. I see that in my own industry. Because actual market research can be resource and cost intensive you can't do it on everything. You've got to direct it toward some concepts that you suspect MIGHT be viable.

However identifying underserved market segments or unfullfilled demands IS your best chance for success in a crowded market. Otherwise you are left with trying to out-execute established players at things they are already fairly expert at executing and fighting against thier established brand recognition in thier own market.  That's generaly a loosing proposition.

In regards community...you are correct that a Developer can't litteraly choose which consumer purchases thier product. However that does not mean the Developer is absolutely powerless in the type of of community they end up with. There is ALOT they can do to influence thier games community....from the type of game and mechanics they design...to thier effort in enforcement of TOS.... to the tone and attitude they adopt in communications to consumers....to how and where they market thier product.

 

 Quoted for truth!

 

  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/19/12 4:34:59 PM#1582
Originally posted by UsualSuspect
Originally posted by Cephus404
People need to understand that no matter how much they want a game made, it's the money and the number of demonstrable financial supporters that determine what actually gets produced.

I still don't entirely agree with this. It actually brings to mind the whole Bioware/EA thing, that once upon a time Bioware used to make great games, they used to spend their time perfecting those games until they were ready to be released. They were games that they wanted to make and they wanted to make them the best they could be. Then along came EA, the big business, the people with all the cash to throw around, the people who decided when a game was to be released and in what state. So we get the mess that was ME3's ending, or the horrible SW:TOR, and we also get the founders of Bioware deciding to call it a day and move on.

If you have a dedicated group of people wanting to make a game to the best of their ability, then no amount of money, market research or anything else will stop them creating that game. When the money, research and everything else comes before the game then the game, and the company as a whole, suffers.

Work with a large company that cares more about the money it's making and you'll see the same games created time and again as they try and take a share of whatever is popular. If the company, however, is more interested in the craft of making great games - companies such as pre-EA Bioware, Rockstar and IO Interactive - then you'll see a more original quality product.

I agree.  That's why I'm so into Kickstarter, and why I suspect it might become a huge format soon for making games.  I think it's a great idea personally-gamers can be the ones directly funding the games that are being made, and feel like they're more integral in the process than simply consumers.  The devs love it because they don't have a corporate overlord breathing down their necks to meet certain criteria or deadlines, giving them more creative flexibility.  And the gamers love it because the games they actually WANT are being made.

  Cephus404

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

9/19/12 8:44:11 PM#1583
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

I agree.  That's why I'm so into Kickstarter, and why I suspect it might become a huge format soon for making games.  I think it's a great idea personally-gamers can be the ones directly funding the games that are being made, and feel like they're more integral in the process than simply consumers.  The devs love it because they don't have a corporate overlord breathing down their necks to meet certain criteria or deadlines, giving them more creative flexibility.  And the gamers love it because the games they actually WANT are being made.

I think it won't change a thing.  Lots of people may fund the initial development of a game, but it takes years to develop a game and even when you're done, it still takes tons of money to keep the game running.  Many people who throw a couple of bucks toward a game today may not even be playing MMOs in 5 years.  Their tastes may change.  Plus the fact, a lot of the people putting projects up on Kickstarter are usually not proven companies with a track record of excellence, people may hate what they end up producing, no matter what promises have been made.

I think Kickstarter is a good idea for funding products in the short term.  Things that may or may not ever come out somewhere down the line though... not so much.

Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
Now Playing: None
Hope: None

  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/19/12 8:52:08 PM#1584
Originally posted by Cephus404
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

I agree.  That's why I'm so into Kickstarter, and why I suspect it might become a huge format soon for making games.  I think it's a great idea personally-gamers can be the ones directly funding the games that are being made, and feel like they're more integral in the process than simply consumers.  The devs love it because they don't have a corporate overlord breathing down their necks to meet certain criteria or deadlines, giving them more creative flexibility.  And the gamers love it because the games they actually WANT are being made.

I think it won't change a thing.  Lots of people may fund the initial development of a game, but it takes years to develop a game and even when you're done, it still takes tons of money to keep the game running.  Many people who throw a couple of bucks toward a game today may not even be playing MMOs in 5 years.  Their tastes may change.  Plus the fact, a lot of the people putting projects up on Kickstarter are usually not proven companies with a track record of excellence, people may hate what they end up producing, no matter what promises have been made.

I think Kickstarter is a good idea for funding products in the short term.  Things that may or may not ever come out somewhere down the line though... not so much.

Actually, a Kickstarter beneficiary is contractually obligated to complete the product.  However, I think it depends on the type of game being made.  An MMORPG wouldn't be a good fit for a Kickstarter project just because of the sheer millions of dollars required for infrastructure and design.  Single player games, especially in certain styles, are quite feasible for a medium like Kickstarter to facilitate funding.  I used Wasteland 2 as an example, and it's being created by the founder of Interplay and inXile, Brian Fargo.  That's a pretty proven track record, if you ask me.  

 

To be honest the main aspect affecting the polish on a game is time.  You put more dollars into the pot to buy more people's time, thus shortening the time required to create the product.  But if you have a small team of devoted devs that aren't being stressed out by a large capital provider, they can create the game they really want to make.  That makes them a little more inclined to put in the extra hours and be completely devoted to their project.  These are actually some of the reasons Fargo himself went through Kickstarter.

  GrumpyMel2

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1835

9/20/12 11:46:55 AM#1585

@Lethargic,

I think you have the right of it, Kickstarter is a wonderful development for smaller types of projects and games. I think we'll see alot of cool things come out of it in that arena...and some of them may even become quite popular/succesfull (doubt any corporate entities would have funded Minecraft for example, had it needed any funding,  or expected it to become as popular as it has). Alot of smaller, simpler projects really don't take much cash at all to bring to fruition.

For MMO's, I think where you'll see it usefull is as a vehicle to demonstrate to investors that there is sufficient interest in the project to justify investment (the way PFO has used it) or to bridge the gap if there is a budget shortfall in the project and you just need a little bit more to bring it to completion. It could also be used as a from of pre-beta advertisement for a game that doesn't really need the finances but wants to build some audience attachment to the project before rolling into beta.

In those ways, I think it can be very powerfull. For example, it one thing to walk into an investor meeting with some purchased market research that X number of people answered a survey saying they would be interested in the game you are building, it's quite another when you walk into that same meeting and show that you were able to raise $300k in 30 days from thousands of interested future clients opening up thier wallets and donating money because they want to see your product built. Answering a survey doesn't require much commitment from a customer. Actually opening up your wallet and paying out $30, $50 or $100 for a product that isn't even built yet.....nothing is going to speak louder to an investor about customer interest then that.

  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/20/12 2:40:00 PM#1586

Yeah, I could see that.  I think the main barrier would be introductory financing to show to other devs to get more funding.  The only problem I can see with this kind of system is the fact that those devs will want to put their hands into the project, and potentially ruin what the gamers helped initially fund.  However, if they had a clause in the Kickstarter contract that any outside developer dollars would create only a limited partnership and wouldn't give them access to the game's rights, it might work.

 

I think a lot of devs are greedy, unfortunately, simply because they're a business enterprise and that's the nature of the beast.  I remain optimistic, however, that this kind of program can be a huge stepping stone on the path to getting MMORPGs back to their former glory.

  Cephus404

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

9/20/12 3:23:04 PM#1587
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

Actually, a Kickstarter beneficiary is contractually obligated to complete the product.  

But companies go out of business all the time and no company = no contract.  Likewise, there are cost overruns all the time and if a company can no longer fund a project, it ends.  It also doesn't mean the company can't change course mid-way through a project and produce a game that the people who paid through Kickstarter won't play either.  Promise and execution are often two different things.

However, I think it depends on the type of game being made.  An MMORPG wouldn't be a good fit for a Kickstarter project just because of the sheer millions of dollars required for infrastructure and design.  Single player games, especially in certain styles, are quite feasible for a medium like Kickstarter to facilitate funding.  I used Wasteland 2 as an example, and it's being created by the founder of Interplay and inXile, Brian Fargo.  That's a pretty proven track record, if you ask me.  

The problem is, we're talking about MMOs here, not single-player games.  The point was that Kickstarter can allow people who want niche playstyles to fund them directly through Kickstarter.  I pointed out some of the many problems with that.

To be honest the main aspect affecting the polish on a game is time.  You put more dollars into the pot to buy more people's time, thus shortening the time required to create the product.  But if you have a small team of devoted devs that aren't being stressed out by a large capital provider, they can create the game they really want to make.  That makes them a little more inclined to put in the extra hours and be completely devoted to their project.  These are actually some of the reasons Fargo himself went through Kickstarter.

And they may be good reasons on the surface, but an MMO, beyond development costs, needs a constant source of income to remain in busniess.  Development is only part of the story.  They have to have a game that people are willing to pay a monthly fee, or buy things from a cash shop, or have lots of new people buy the boxes and the expansions to pay for the support staff and server costs every month.  It's not like a single-player game where you make the game and then go do something else.  There are ongoing costs every month with an MMO.  No matter how many people they talked into handing over money with Kickstarter, the game has to continue to attract a certain number of active, financially-supporting players every month or they've just wasted 5 years of their lives.

Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
Now Playing: None
Hope: None

  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/20/12 3:39:06 PM#1588
Originally posted by Cephus404
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

Actually, a Kickstarter beneficiary is contractually obligated to complete the product.  

But companies go out of business all the time and no company = no contract.  Likewise, there are cost overruns all the time and if a company can no longer fund a project, it ends.  It also doesn't mean the company can't change course mid-way through a project and produce a game that the people who paid through Kickstarter won't play either.  Promise and execution are often two different things.

True, but in that instance the backers of Kickstarter are simply refunded their contributions.  This is actually guaranteed by Kickstarter to ensure that neither the consumers nor the people with the projects are in a position of particular risk. 

However, I think it depends on the type of game being made.  An MMORPG wouldn't be a good fit for a Kickstarter project just because of the sheer millions of dollars required for infrastructure and design.  Single player games, especially in certain styles, are quite feasible for a medium like Kickstarter to facilitate funding.  I used Wasteland 2 as an example, and it's being created by the founder of Interplay and inXile, Brian Fargo.  That's a pretty proven track record, if you ask me.  

The problem is, we're talking about MMOs here, not single-player games.  The point was that Kickstarter can allow people who want niche playstyles to fund them directly through Kickstarter.  I pointed out some of the many problems with that.

That's true with the current MMO model.  I think "niche" MMOs wouldn't really be as money-intensive as the now-traditional "umbrella" model MMOs use, since they'd be effectively cutting in half their target demographic (or somewhere thereabouts).  If you don't have to create as much "easy mode" content as filler, it frees up a lot of that capital for making the games a particular subset wants to play.

 

It might still be harder with an MMO but you never know.  Many projects on Kickstarter have garnered millions of dollars, and if there were enough of a desire on the part of the fans, who knows how high that figure could become initially?  It's important to remember Kickstarter's only been around for a few years and is still in infancy.

To be honest the main aspect affecting the polish on a game is time.  You put more dollars into the pot to buy more people's time, thus shortening the time required to create the product.  But if you have a small team of devoted devs that aren't being stressed out by a large capital provider, they can create the game they really want to make.  That makes them a little more inclined to put in the extra hours and be completely devoted to their project.  These are actually some of the reasons Fargo himself went through Kickstarter.

And they may be good reasons on the surface, but an MMO, beyond development costs, needs a constant source of income to remain in busniess.  Development is only part of the story.  They have to have a game that people are willing to pay a monthly fee, or buy things from a cash shop, or have lots of new people buy the boxes and the expansions to pay for the support staff and server costs every month.  It's not like a single-player game where you make the game and then go do something else.  There are ongoing costs every month with an MMO.  No matter how many people they talked into handing over money with Kickstarter, the game has to continue to attract a certain number of active, financially-supporting players every month or they've just wasted 5 years of their lives.

 

I'm not sure this is actually the case.  It seems like devs know that their games are going to lose most of their subs in the first year or so nowadays and plan accordingly.  If a dev gets back their invested capital plus a calculated return, it's really a win for the company regardless of the game's reputation or its resulting tarnish on the company's.  Besides, devs aren't getting paid at the end of the development process, they get paid the entire time.  So it's not as much of a waste of time on the part of the devs as it is a waste of company capital, should they fail to recoup.

 

Also, this is only a theory of mine, but I'm of the opinion that if someone helped create something they'll have more of a vested interest in that product for a longer period of time (vested for lack of a better word).  In other words, they'll be more inclined to provide that monthly funding as long as they think the game they've helped to fund is actually being produced, and that's ultimately the responsibility of the devs.  But for people to fund the project to begin with they have to feel that the game being made is the one they've been wanting.

  GrumpyMel2

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1835

9/20/12 4:07:58 PM#1589
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

Yeah, I could see that.  I think the main barrier would be introductory financing to show to other devs to get more funding.  The only problem I can see with this kind of system is the fact that those devs will want to put their hands into the project, and potentially ruin what the gamers helped initially fund.  However, if they had a clause in the Kickstarter contract that any outside developer dollars would create only a limited partnership and wouldn't give them access to the game's rights, it might work.

 

I think a lot of devs are greedy, unfortunately, simply because they're a business enterprise and that's the nature of the beast.  I remain optimistic, however, that this kind of program can be a huge stepping stone on the path to getting MMORPGs back to their former glory.

It's possible....but then again there is no assurance that the Dev's themselves will execute well on the project either. Design and concept are only part of the equation. Execution is a big part of making a good game too.

I expect that the indie Dev that is going to Kickstarter to start up a project is probably not going to go to a big publisher like EA or Activision for additional funding. That might happen, but I think people are pretty well aware of the kind of strings attached with that.  I think the typical funding sources for projects like that are the Angel Investors. Most of the time those types are going to be pretty hands off with the design of a project, as they usualy aren't Developers themselves. They may be very involved with milestones and schedules and that sort of thing....and that can have it's own hazard....but they typicaly aren't going to be involved about whether a game has "fast travel" or not...or those sorts of decisions.

Honestly, whenever I give to Kickstarter I don't look at with an assurance of anything. I really look at as just a donation to someone trying to put together a creative work that I like the concept of....and therefore I'm willing to kick them a few dollars to help them with that endevour.

Edit: I actualy look at that as a pretty decent thing for the economy these days too. If those of us with a few extra bucks laying around can pool them and kick them over to start a business...that's a good thing, it helps that money circulating again. It doesn't really matter if alot of those projects will fail......alot of startups that are traditionaly funded fail too.... but they never even get the opportunity to succeed if they don't have access to funding.....and those that do succeed are what helps add jobs and revenue to the economy. Pretty much I see it as a win for everybody.

  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/20/12 5:05:19 PM#1590
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

Yeah, I could see that.  I think the main barrier would be introductory financing to show to other devs to get more funding.  The only problem I can see with this kind of system is the fact that those devs will want to put their hands into the project, and potentially ruin what the gamers helped initially fund.  However, if they had a clause in the Kickstarter contract that any outside developer dollars would create only a limited partnership and wouldn't give them access to the game's rights, it might work.

 

I think a lot of devs are greedy, unfortunately, simply because they're a business enterprise and that's the nature of the beast.  I remain optimistic, however, that this kind of program can be a huge stepping stone on the path to getting MMORPGs back to their former glory.

It's possible....but then again there is no assurance that the Dev's themselves will execute well on the project either. Design and concept are only part of the equation. Execution is a big part of making a good game too.

I expect that the indie Dev that is going to Kickstarter to start up a project is probably not going to go to a big publisher like EA or Activision for additional funding. That might happen, but I think people are pretty well aware of the kind of strings attached with that.  I think the typical funding sources for projects like that are the Angel Investors. Most of the time those types are going to be pretty hands off with the design of a project, as they usualy aren't Developers themselves. They may be very involved with milestones and schedules and that sort of thing....and that can have it's own hazard....but they typicaly aren't going to be involved about whether a game has "fast travel" or not...or those sorts of decisions.

Honestly, whenever I give to Kickstarter I don't look at with an assurance of anything. I really look at as just a donation to someone trying to put together a creative work that I like the concept of....and therefore I'm willing to kick them a few dollars to help them with that endevour.

Edit: I actualy look at that as a pretty decent thing for the economy these days too. If those of us with a few extra bucks laying around can pool them and kick them over to start a business...that's a good thing, it helps that money circulating again. It doesn't really matter if alot of those projects will fail......alot of startups that are traditionaly funded fail too.... but they never even get the opportunity to succeed if they don't have access to funding.....and those that do succeed are what helps add jobs and revenue to the economy. Pretty much I see it as a win for everybody.

Yeah, I agree with your sentiment.  I think the best way for this kind of forum to become a mainstream option for game developers is for prospective devs to have a lot of the groundwork already lain for the game, so we can see a skeleton design.  I've actually seen some projects on Kickstarter using this concept so that people have more of a credible reason to give them cash, which I'm also all for.

 

I think it might help slightly economically as you've stated...  I think there are much larger issues at hand than this that will help us, but anything beneficial should definitely be endorsed.  (I personally think instead of bailing out financial institutions we should've bailed out college grads with gigantic loans and no way to pay them.)

  Cephus404

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

9/21/12 1:55:48 PM#1591
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

True, but in that instance the backers of Kickstarter are simply refunded their contributions.  This is actually guaranteed by Kickstarter to ensure that neither the consumers nor the people with the projects are in a position of particular risk. 

You can't refund it, it's spent!  If a company goes bankrupt, they have no assets to sell to repay creditors!  Evem if they do have assets, I don't see Kickstarter having lawyers to go into bankruptcy court to fight for their backers.  Certainly, Joe Blow who spent $50 on a project isn't going to spend thousands of dollars in lawyer fees to get that $50 back.

That's true with the current MMO model.  I think "niche" MMOs wouldn't really be as money-intensive as the now-traditional "umbrella" model MMOs use, since they'd be effectively cutting in half their target demographic (or somewhere thereabouts).  If you don't have to create as much "easy mode" content as filler, it frees up a lot of that capital for making the games a particular subset wants to play.

Sure they would, it costs just as much to get a quality niche MMO as it does to get a quality AAA title.  Content costs money, art direction costs money, programming costs money.  In fact, depending on how niche the title is, it will probably be more expensive because they won't be able to use an engine off the shelf, they'll have to develop their own.  The "cheap" MMOs are the ones that look like crap, are buggy as hell and have nothing to do.  Quality costs money.

 It might still be harder with an MMO but you never know.  Many projects on Kickstarter have garnered millions of dollars, and if there were enough of a desire on the part of the fans, who knows how high that figure could become initially?  It's important to remember Kickstarter's only been around for a few years and is still in infancy.

You're still looking at 50-100 million minimum, you're looking at earning $1.7 million dollars a day, every single day, for 30 days, just to get to the minimum number.

 I'm not sure this is actually the case.  It seems like devs know that their games are going to lose most of their subs in the first year or so nowadays and plan accordingly.  If a dev gets back their invested capital plus a calculated return, it's really a win for the company regardless of the game's reputation or its resulting tarnish on the company's.  Besides, devs aren't getting paid at the end of the development process, they get paid the entire time.  So it's not as much of a waste of time on the part of the devs as it is a waste of company capital, should they fail to recoup.

Many devs get residuals on their games.  Regardless, the whole point of an MMO is as an ongoing concern.  It's built to go on and on and on.  When it closes it's doors, it's done.  So what do you do with the people who initially paid for a game they wanted to play?  Six months and the game fails and shuts down?  Thanks for the money, so sad you're left with nothing?  See. Kickstarter is a great deal for companies, they get all the money they want and they don't have to pay any of it back.  It's all free money.  They don't owe their "investors" anything.

 Also, this is only a theory of mine, but I'm of the opinion that if someone helped create something they'll have more of a vested interest in that product for a longer period of time (vested for lack of a better word).  In other words, they'll be more inclined to provide that monthly funding as long as they think the game they've helped to fund is actually being produced, and that's ultimately the responsibility of the devs.  But for people to fund the project to begin with they have to feel that the game being made is the one they've been wanting.

Most Kickstarter investors are really just paying for the box ahead of time, that's about as much money as they spend and that's what they get in return.  If the game ends up being crappy, how much time do you think they're going to spend on it?  They didn't really do anything special to get the box, they just paid for the pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-release.  The few people who do pay a lot of money, in the thousands, might stick around longer but that's certainly not enough people to keep a game running month after month.

Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
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Hope: None

  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/21/12 9:05:07 PM#1592
Originally posted by Cephus404
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

True, but in that instance the backers of Kickstarter are simply refunded their contributions.  This is actually guaranteed by Kickstarter to ensure that neither the consumers nor the people with the projects are in a position of particular risk. 

You can't refund it, it's spent!  If a company goes bankrupt, they have no assets to sell to repay creditors!  Evem if they do have assets, I don't see Kickstarter having lawyers to go into bankruptcy court to fight for their backers.  Certainly, Joe Blow who spent $50 on a project isn't going to spend thousands of dollars in lawyer fees to get that $50 back.

Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.  That's actually a cut and paste from their website.  This means they WILL initiate lawsuits to get Backers their money if they need to.  Besides, you're bringing up a precedent that doesn't exist, as this hasn't ever happened on Kickstarter in its three-year history.  The fact is Creators enter a contractual obligation, upheld by law, to fulfill their promises.  They might go belly-up, but it'll be AFTER their funded project has come to fruition.

That's true with the current MMO model.  I think "niche" MMOs wouldn't really be as money-intensive as the now-traditional "umbrella" model MMOs use, since they'd be effectively cutting in half their target demographic (or somewhere thereabouts).  If you don't have to create as much "easy mode" content as filler, it frees up a lot of that capital for making the games a particular subset wants to play.

Sure they would, it costs just as much to get a quality niche MMO as it does to get a quality AAA title.  Content costs money, art direction costs money, programming costs money.  In fact, depending on how niche the title is, it will probably be more expensive because they won't be able to use an engine off the shelf, they'll have to develop their own.  The "cheap" MMOs are the ones that look like crap, are buggy as hell and have nothing to do.  Quality costs money.

What quality niche MMOs are you using as a reference?  All the things you mentioned, while costing money, would be covered by Kickstarter's startup monetary funds.   That's kind of the point of what I was saying.  And I'm sorry, but a game half the size of a traditional MMO will not cost just as much, that's just bad math.  Also, why wouldn't they be able to use a previously made engine?   Devs do this constantly.  They borrow engines, or use freeware engines, or pay for a temporary license to use the engine.  (Example: http://www.panda3d.org/)  That's hardly the biggest cost of a game's creation, to be honest.  And I'm not sure exactly why it is that you believe raising millions on Kickstarter is an impossibility.  It's been done numerous times, and for single player games to raise multiple millions for production, or over 10 million dollars for the creation of a type of watch, I think we can raise a bit more for a quality MMORPG to be produced if the gamers really want it.

 It might still be harder with an MMO but you never know.  Many projects on Kickstarter have garnered millions of dollars, and if there were enough of a desire on the part of the fans, who knows how high that figure could become initially?  It's important to remember Kickstarter's only been around for a few years and is still in infancy.

You're still looking at 50-100 million minimum, you're looking at earning $1.7 million dollars a day, every single day, for 30 days, just to get to the minimum number.

Where are you getting 50-100 million dollars minimum to create a niche MMO?  WoW didn't even cost 100 million to create, and the games I'm talking about making would be absent solo content for the most part, cutting down on development time and costs.  EQ2 cost 20 million, which by the way was a LOT for when it was made.  Aion, another relatively recent and undeniably AAA MMO, cost only 2 million more than that, and came out exactly 3 years ago tomorrow as of the date of this post.

 I'm not sure this is actually the case.  It seems like devs know that their games are going to lose most of their subs in the first year or so nowadays and plan accordingly.  If a dev gets back their invested capital plus a calculated return, it's really a win for the company regardless of the game's reputation or its resulting tarnish on the company's.  Besides, devs aren't getting paid at the end of the development process, they get paid the entire time.  So it's not as much of a waste of time on the part of the devs as it is a waste of company capital, should they fail to recoup.

Many devs get residuals on their games.  Regardless, the whole point of an MMO is as an ongoing concern.  It's built to go on and on and on.  When it closes it's doors, it's done.  So what do you do with the people who initially paid for a game they wanted to play?  Six months and the game fails and shuts down?  Thanks for the money, so sad you're left with nothing?  See. Kickstarter is a great deal for companies, they get all the money they want and they don't have to pay any of it back.  It's all free money.  They don't owe their "investors" anything.

Again, I think you should read the Kickstarter page's specifics on the details of their operation.  They're not in the business of helping companies make suckers out of paying customers.  Besides, this has happened before.  How is an MMO created through Kickstarter that goes the way of the dodo any different than a normal dev model doing the same?  Most of the time the games don't just "shut down", they go F2P.  An excellent example is the beautiful, pricey pile of stool that is SWTOR.

 Also, this is only a theory of mine, but I'm of the opinion that if someone helped create something they'll have more of a vested interest in that product for a longer period of time (vested for lack of a better word).  In other words, they'll be more inclined to provide that monthly funding as long as they think the game they've helped to fund is actually being produced, and that's ultimately the responsibility of the devs.  But for people to fund the project to begin with they have to feel that the game being made is the one they've been wanting.

Most Kickstarter investors are really just paying for the box ahead of time, that's about as much money as they spend and that's what they get in return.  If the game ends up being crappy, how much time do you think they're going to spend on it?  They didn't really do anything special to get the box, they just paid for the pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-release.  The few people who do pay a lot of money, in the thousands, might stick around longer but that's certainly not enough people to keep a game running month after month.

Well, no.  It's not a preorder service, because a preorder service indicates that a project is already guaranteed to complete and release.  Backers on Kickstarter aren't paying just for the product; they're paying to make it a reality.  As far as not doing something special, you don't think being a part of the actual funding project that made a game possible in the first place is doing something special as far as the game itself is concerned?  Most big game developers would disagree with you.  That's why they get their hands into projects they fund.  Besides, isn't it more likely that a gamer getting the game created that they want is more likely to stick around, whether or not they took part in funding it?

 

I think we're just not going to agree on this topic.

 

  Cephus404

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

9/22/12 2:18:52 AM#1593
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.  That's actually a cut and paste from their website.  This means they WILL initiate lawsuits to get Backers their money if they need to.  Besides, you're bringing up a precedent that doesn't exist, as this hasn't ever happened on Kickstarter in its three-year history.  The fact is Creators enter a contractual obligation, upheld by law, to fulfill their promises.  They might go belly-up, but it'll be AFTER their funded project has come to fruition.

If a company goes bankrupt, all contracts are rendered null and void.  There's just no money available to pay them back with!  You can sue all you want, you can't get money out of a company that doesn't exist and has no money.

What quality niche MMOs are you using as a reference?  All the things you mentioned, while costing money, would be covered by Kickstarter's startup monetary funds.   That's kind of the point of what I was saying.  And I'm sorry, but a game half the size of a traditional MMO will not cost just as much, that's just bad math.  Also, why wouldn't they be able to use a previously made engine?   Devs do this constantly.  They borrow engines, or use freeware engines, or pay for a temporary license to use the engine.  (Example: http://www.panda3d.org/)  That's hardly the biggest cost of a game's creation, to be honest.  And I'm not sure exactly why it is that you believe raising millions on Kickstarter is an impossibility.  It's been done numerous times, and for single player games to raise multiple millions for production, or over 10 million dollars for the creation of a type of watch, I think we can raise a bit more for a quality MMORPG to be produced if the gamers really want it.

Who wants to play a game half the size of a typical MMO?  Assuming a game that is exactly the same quality-wise as any other MMO, it's going to cost as much as any other MMO.  And a game can only use an engine if the game is compatible with the engine.  If we're talking about an entirely niche game, where the game mechanics are not compatible with the various game engines out there, clearly they cannot use the engines.  That will raise the cost of the games inherently.

So far, the most raised by any project on Kickstarter is just a little over $10 million.  $10 million is a drop in the bucket.  MMOs cost $100 million at the bottom end.  It's not that it's impossible, just that there is nothing even close to that number so far.

Where are you getting 50-100 million dollars minimum to create a niche MMO?  WoW didn't even cost 100 million to create, and the games I'm talking about making would be absent solo content for the most part, cutting down on development time and costs.  EQ2 cost 20 million, which by the way was a LOT for when it was made.  Aion, another relatively recent and undeniably AAA MMO, cost only 2 million more than that, and came out exactly 3 years ago tomorrow as of the date of this post.

You're talking about old MMOs.  SWTOR cost $200 million.  Like it or not, that's where these games are headed and that will be the expectation.  What things cost 8-10 years ago is irrelevant, it only matters what games cost today.

Again, I think you should read the Kickstarter page's specifics on the details of their operation.  They're not in the business of helping companies make suckers out of paying customers.  Besides, this has happened before.  How is an MMO created through Kickstarter that goes the way of the dodo any different than a normal dev model doing the same?  Most of the time the games don't just "shut down", they go F2P.  An excellent example is the beautiful, pricey pile of stool that is SWTOR.

I'm not trying to argue for minimum standards, I'm trying to argue for a successful game that doesn't fail in a few months and end up dragging along through F2P hell.  If these games had any popularity to begin with, they wouldn't need to go the Kickstarter route, they'd already be a viable financial risk, they'd already have developers making these games.  However, that's just not the case.  So now you want to throw these people a short-term bone that's going to go belly up after a few months because there just isn't enough people interested in playing them?  All you're doing is proving that these games don't have the popular support in the first place, which is what we've been claiming all along.

Well, no.  It's not a preorder service, because a preorder service indicates that a project is already guaranteed to complete and release.  Backers on Kickstarter aren't paying just for the product; they're paying to make it a reality.  As far as not doing something special, you don't think being a part of the actual funding project that made a game possible in the first place is doing something special as far as the game itself is concerned?  Most big game developers would disagree with you.  That's why they get their hands into projects they fund.  Besides, isn't it more likely that a gamer getting the game created that they want is more likely to stick around, whether or not they took part in funding it?

The majority of Kickstarter supporters pay at the lowest end of the support scale.  That usually runs in the $50-$75 range, which is exactly the range of a box sale.  Most of the game Kickstarters, at the lowest end, just promise people a download of the game or a physical copy of the game, how is that any different than a pre-order?  It's just a pre-order years in advance instead of months.

And no, I don't think just putting money into a project and getting nothing more out of it than I would have gotten had I just waited until the game was released and gone down to Gamestop and bought the game is special.  I don't think most people do either.

Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
Now Playing: None
Hope: None

  Romko1256

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/06
Posts: 5

9/22/12 7:58:48 AM#1594
.....
  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/22/12 5:09:10 PM#1595
Originally posted by Cephus404
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.  That's actually a cut and paste from their website.  This means they WILL initiate lawsuits to get Backers their money if they need to.  Besides, you're bringing up a precedent that doesn't exist, as this hasn't ever happened on Kickstarter in its three-year history.  The fact is Creators enter a contractual obligation, upheld by law, to fulfill their promises.  They might go belly-up, but it'll be AFTER their funded project has come to fruition.

If a company goes bankrupt, all contracts are rendered null and void.  There's just no money available to pay them back with!  You can sue all you want, you can't get money out of a company that doesn't exist and has no money.

While this may be true I'm still not sure why you insist this is an inevitability.  I think it's quite logical to assume that a dev creating a game wanted by the players, and getting the funding, will succed at least initially.

What quality niche MMOs are you using as a reference?  All the things you mentioned, while costing money, would be covered by Kickstarter's startup monetary funds.   That's kind of the point of what I was saying.  And I'm sorry, but a game half the size of a traditional MMO will not cost just as much, that's just bad math.  Also, why wouldn't they be able to use a previously made engine?   Devs do this constantly.  They borrow engines, or use freeware engines, or pay for a temporary license to use the engine.  (Example: http://www.panda3d.org/)  That's hardly the biggest cost of a game's creation, to be honest.  And I'm not sure exactly why it is that you believe raising millions on Kickstarter is an impossibility.  It's been done numerous times, and for single player games to raise multiple millions for production, or over 10 million dollars for the creation of a type of watch, I think we can raise a bit more for a quality MMORPG to be produced if the gamers really want it.

Who wants to play a game half the size of a typical MMO?  Assuming a game that is exactly the same quality-wise as any other MMO, it's going to cost as much as any other MMO.  And a game can only use an engine if the game is compatible with the engine.  If we're talking about an entirely niche game, where the game mechanics are not compatible with the various game engines out there, clearly they cannot use the engines.  That will raise the cost of the games inherently.

When I say half the size, I mean minus all the extra solo content that has to be created for solo-friendly MMO games, not number of areas or things of that nature.  And games are created around an engine, and by "niche" I'm referring to group-specific.  And games can be designed with the engine's mechanics in mind (and almost always are if an existing engine is being used).  

So far, the most raised by any project on Kickstarter is just a little over $10 million.  $10 million is a drop in the bucket.  MMOs cost $100 million at the bottom end.  It's not that it's impossible, just that there is nothing even close to that number so far.

Where are you getting 50-100 million dollars minimum to create a niche MMO?  WoW didn't even cost 100 million to create, and the games I'm talking about making would be absent solo content for the most part, cutting down on development time and costs.  EQ2 cost 20 million, which by the way was a LOT for when it was made.  Aion, another relatively recent and undeniably AAA MMO, cost only 2 million more than that, and came out exactly 3 years ago tomorrow as of the date of this post.

You're talking about old MMOs.  SWTOR cost $200 million.  Like it or not, that's where these games are headed and that will be the expectation.  What things cost 8-10 years ago is irrelevant, it only matters what games cost today.

Well, you're using the most expensive MMO ever created as your reference, and Aion isn't 8 or 10 years old as I explained.  If it could be done 3 years ago it can be done today.  Besides, if they're using a newer engine and slightly dated (but still good) graphics they can cut costs dramatically and do an overhaul later.  That would mean creating HD textures and simply downgrading the definition, as well as lowering polygon count, which can be done in any 3D software.

Again, I think you should read the Kickstarter page's specifics on the details of their operation.  They're not in the business of helping companies make suckers out of paying customers.  Besides, this has happened before.  How is an MMO created through Kickstarter that goes the way of the dodo any different than a normal dev model doing the same?  Most of the time the games don't just "shut down", they go F2P.  An excellent example is the beautiful, pricey pile of stool that is SWTOR.

I'm not trying to argue for minimum standards, I'm trying to argue for a successful game that doesn't fail in a few months and end up dragging along through F2P hell.  If these games had any popularity to begin with, they wouldn't need to go the Kickstarter route, they'd already be a viable financial risk, they'd already have developers making these games.  However, that's just not the case.  So now you want to throw these people a short-term bone that's going to go belly up after a few months because there just isn't enough people interested in playing them?  All you're doing is proving that these games don't have the popular support in the first place, which is what we've been claiming all along.

But you're automatically assuming any game made through Kickstarter will be a failure, without cause or reason.  The thing is, i'm basing this on opinion, but I'm pretty sure a game made for the gamers that paid for the game to be created will end up with longer sub lives (as long as the game is what they wanted).  And it's not that group-oriented MMOs aren't possibly quite popular, it's just that the big devs don't use that model anymore because there are so many more people that want everything to be solo-friendly.  That doesn't mean there isn't still a large market for a game that isn't...  devs just want the entire pie instead of a good slice.  As far as these games not being popular in the first place, I'll point you to the MMOs I did earlier, as in UO (quarter of a million subs at peak) or EQ (half a million at peak).  Wow simply made the genre more accessible to casual players which gave its sub numbers a huge boost.  A quarter of a million people backing and playing a game is still quite a bit, in my opinion.  Anyways, devs have to worry about box sales via Kickstarter first, which either will be met or the game won't be made, if they've at least done decent budgeting.

Well, no.  It's not a preorder service, because a preorder service indicates that a project is already guaranteed to complete and release.  Backers on Kickstarter aren't paying just for the product; they're paying to make it a reality.  As far as not doing something special, you don't think being a part of the actual funding project that made a game possible in the first place is doing something special as far as the game itself is concerned?  Most big game developers would disagree with you.  That's why they get their hands into projects they fund.  Besides, isn't it more likely that a gamer getting the game created that they want is more likely to stick around, whether or not they took part in funding it?

The majority of Kickstarter supporters pay at the lowest end of the support scale.  That usually runs in the $50-$75 range, which is exactly the range of a box sale.  Most of the game Kickstarters, at the lowest end, just promise people a download of the game or a physical copy of the game, how is that any different than a pre-order?  It's just a pre-order years in advance instead of months.

And no, I don't think just putting money into a project and getting nothing more out of it than I would have gotten had I just waited until the game was released and gone down to Gamestop and bought the game is special.  I don't think most people do either.

Because you aren't going to Gamestop and helping to ensure that a game sees the light of day.  That's the real difference, not the fact that they both are early forms of ordering a box.  Kickstarter makes projects possible that otherwise might not be, which is the entire point.  Many people get a sense of pride and accomplishment from making things possible, but not feeling that way is your prerogative of course.

 

  Cephus404

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

9/23/12 2:32:11 PM#1596
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

While this may be true I'm still not sure why you insist this is an inevitability.  I think it's quite logical to assume that a dev creating a game wanted by the players, and getting the funding, will succed at least initially.

I'm not saying it's an inevitability, it certainly is a possibility and for lots of these companies that are startups, it's a better than average possibility.  More than half of all startup companies fail in their first year of business.  I gave it as one reason why a company may fail to produce a product and not be able to return the money.  Another reason is cost over-runs, which are extremely common.  In a traditionally funded game, they can go back to investors and ask for more money.  In a Kickstarter-funded game, it's not that simple.  Unforseen circumstances may render a project unfinishable without more money and without more money, it's likely the company is going to go bankrupt.  It's not like they can return the money, it's already been spent and they have no other source of revenue.  That's why a lot of investors have insurance to cover those instances where they lose their money.  Do Kickstarter investors have that?

When I say half the size, I mean minus all the extra solo content that has to be created for solo-friendly MMO games, not number of areas or things of that nature.  And games are created around an engine, and by "niche" I'm referring to group-specific.  And games can be designed with the engine's mechanics in mind (and almost always are if an existing engine is being used). 

Games aren't developed with a fully-formed grouping game *AND* a fully-formed soloing game.  There is content.  If you removed soloing from the game mechanics, you'd still have exactly the same amount of content, unless you want a largely empty game world.  If a typical game would have 200 dungeons, your group-centric game would still have 200 dungeons, they'd just be group-centric dungeons.

Well, you're using the most expensive MMO ever created as your reference, and Aion isn't 8 or 10 years old as I explained.  If it could be done 3 years ago it can be done today.  Besides, if they're using a newer engine and slightly dated (but still good) graphics they can cut costs dramatically and do an overhaul later.  That would mean creating HD textures and simply downgrading the definition, as well as lowering polygon count, which can be done in any 3D software.

Players want eye-candy, you and I both know that.  It seems like you're arguing that group-centric players would put up with a sub-standard game in order to get their group-centric content.  Heck, why not give them a 2D sidescroller?  Those are cheap!  Oh wait, people can be represented by pixels, removing the need for character models!  Sorry.  I'm arguing that this game is going to be every bit as good as any other AAA MMO on the market.

But you're automatically assuming any game made through Kickstarter will be a failure, without cause or reason.  The thing is, i'm basing this on opinion, but I'm pretty sure a game made for the gamers that paid for the game to be created will end up with longer sub lives (as long as the game is what they wanted).  And it's not that group-oriented MMOs aren't possibly quite popular, it's just that the big devs don't use that model anymore because there are so many more people that want everything to be solo-friendly.  That doesn't mean there isn't still a large market for a game that isn't...  devs just want the entire pie instead of a good slice.  As far as these games not being popular in the first place, I'll point you to the MMOs I did earlier, as in UO (quarter of a million subs at peak) or EQ (half a million at peak).  Wow simply made the genre more accessible to casual players which gave its sub numbers a huge boost.  A quarter of a million people backing and playing a game is still quite a bit, in my opinion.  Anyways, devs have to worry about box sales via Kickstarter first, which either will be met or the game won't be made, if they've at least done decent budgeting.

I've never said anything of the sort, I'm saying that MMOs, in particular, pose a specific challenge in that they have an inherently high development cost and an inherently long development cycle.  That means that lots of things can change while the game is being made, including people changing their playstyles, people no longer playing MMOs, people's lives changing, etc.  The game that people may have wanted when they put money into Kickstarter may be very different from the game people want when the development cycle ends.  Like I said, a game doesn't survive just on initial purchases, but on recurring monthly or cash shop purchases.  An MMO cannot survive unless lots of people are willing to shell out money continuously to pay server costs, etc.  That's why, no matter how many people actually paid to have the game developed, if those people aren't there when the game is launched, the game will fail.

To be honest, I don't think you could get a quarter of a million people to fund a game through Kickstarter, nor would a quarter of a million people be able to support a AAA-quality game on launch.

Because you aren't going to Gamestop and helping to ensure that a game sees the light of day.  That's the real difference, not the fact that they both are early forms of ordering a box.  Kickstarter makes projects possible that otherwise might not be, which is the entire point.  Many people get a sense of pride and accomplishment from making things possible, but not feeling that way is your prerogative of course.

 

No, you're signing on to an ideal.  You're betting that somewhere down the line, the game that you threw some money at might come out and be a game you want to play.  Kickstarter is great for projects that are finished, or nearly so, and just need money for publication costs.  For something that is just a bunch of pictures on a page or a short proof-of-concept video, that will take 5 years or so to produce, not so much.

I know that the game I want to play today isn't the game I wanted to play 5 years ago, or 3 years ago, or maybe evne a year ago.  I've changed my mind dramatically over time because my life and my interests have changed over time.  I think the same is true of most players.  The majority of people who played EQ or UO would not play a similar game today.  They moved on.  While it isn't a big deal betting $50 on a project that sounds cool, even if you never play it, the developers still need guaranteed players at the end who can keep the servers up and running.

I just don't see it working out well.

Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
Now Playing: None
Hope: None

  Lethargic_Synapse

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/09/12
Posts: 67

Played: UO, EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, DNDO, Aion, FFXI, LOTRO, RoM, DCUO.

9/23/12 5:50:58 PM#1597
Originally posted by Cephus404
Originally posted by Lethargic_Synapse

While this may be true I'm still not sure why you insist this is an inevitability.  I think it's quite logical to assume that a dev creating a game wanted by the players, and getting the funding, will succed at least initially.

I'm not saying it's an inevitability, it certainly is a possibility and for lots of these companies that are startups, it's a better than average possibility.  More than half of all startup companies fail in their first year of business.  I gave it as one reason why a company may fail to produce a product and not be able to return the money.  Another reason is cost over-runs, which are extremely common.  In a traditionally funded game, they can go back to investors and ask for more money.  In a Kickstarter-funded game, it's not that simple.  Unforseen circumstances may render a project unfinishable without more money and without more money, it's likely the company is going to go bankrupt.  It's not like they can return the money, it's already been spent and they have no other source of revenue.  That's why a lot of investors have insurance to cover those instances where they lose their money.  Do Kickstarter investors have that?

Well yeah, anything is possible.  Just because it's possible that it could end badly means that there's not a good reason to try in the first place?  If a Kickstarter project is begun with an initial goal say, 20 percent higher than what they actually need for production, they should have a good enough buffer to withstand any overages that may occur.  Besides that fact, it's rare that a funded Kickstarter project makes exactly what it needed to see fruition.  Most of the time it's a bit over that amount.  Also, why can't a company that got initial funding from an outside source such as Kickstarter get additional financing?  Most companies that get a loan from the bank for startup don't even have that going for them.  Granted the amounts aren't usually in that realm, but from the earlier posts in our discussion, we've already covered that many millions can be obtained through Kickstarter initially.

When I say half the size, I mean minus all the extra solo content that has to be created for solo-friendly MMO games, not number of areas or things of that nature.  And games are created around an engine, and by "niche" I'm referring to group-specific.  And games can be designed with the engine's mechanics in mind (and almost always are if an existing engine is being used). 

Games aren't developed with a fully-formed grouping game *AND* a fully-formed soloing game.  There is content.  If you removed soloing from the game mechanics, you'd still have exactly the same amount of content, unless you want a largely empty game world.  If a typical game would have 200 dungeons, your group-centric game would still have 200 dungeons, they'd just be group-centric dungeons.

Well, not really.  They're intertwined, but they're still a part of the game.  Not adding in all the post-newbie level solo content would take a lot of extra writing, design, and balance issues, among other things, out of the mix.  That would reduce the amount of cash needed to create the game.  I haven't seen any MMO games with 200 dungeons at launch, anyways.  There's simply no logical way to get around the fact that more content = more money.  It's a fact of life.  

Well, you're using the most expensive MMO ever created as your reference, and Aion isn't 8 or 10 years old as I explained.  If it could be done 3 years ago it can be done today.  Besides, if they're using a newer engine and slightly dated (but still good) graphics they can cut costs dramatically and do an overhaul later.  That would mean creating HD textures and simply downgrading the definition, as well as lowering polygon count, which can be done in any 3D software.

Players want eye-candy, you and I both know that.  It seems like you're arguing that group-centric players would put up with a sub-standard game in order to get their group-centric content.  Heck, why not give them a 2D sidescroller?  Those are cheap!  Oh wait, people can be represented by pixels, removing the need for character models!  Sorry.  I'm arguing that this game is going to be every bit as good as any other AAA MMO on the market.

Well, that's not really a valid argument.  Have you seen Aion?  That's eye candy if there ever was.  The point is it's possible, and not every game has to cost 80 million dollars to see the light of day.  And once a dev that made said game recoups their startup cost, they're free to release the new HD textures, possibly as part of an expansion or massive update.  Since they already made the textures to this quality and downgraded them, it eliminates the need to create new ones, saving a lot of time and money.

But you're automatically assuming any game made through Kickstarter will be a failure, without cause or reason.  The thing is, i'm basing this on opinion, but I'm pretty sure a game made for the gamers that paid for the game to be created will end up with longer sub lives (as long as the game is what they wanted).  And it's not that group-oriented MMOs aren't possibly quite popular, it's just that the big devs don't use that model anymore because there are so many more people that want everything to be solo-friendly.  That doesn't mean there isn't still a large market for a game that isn't...  devs just want the entire pie instead of a good slice.  As far as these games not being popular in the first place, I'll point you to the MMOs I did earlier, as in UO (quarter of a million subs at peak) or EQ (half a million at peak).  Wow simply made the genre more accessible to casual players which gave its sub numbers a huge boost.  A quarter of a million people backing and playing a game is still quite a bit, in my opinion.  Anyways, devs have to worry about box sales via Kickstarter first, which either will be met or the game won't be made, if they've at least done decent budgeting.

I've never said anything of the sort, I'm saying that MMOs, in particular, pose a specific challenge in that they have an inherently high development cost and an inherently long development cycle.  That means that lots of things can change while the game is being made, including people changing their playstyles, people no longer playing MMOs, people's lives changing, etc.  The game that people may have wanted when they put money into Kickstarter may be very different from the game people want when the development cycle ends.  Like I said, a game doesn't survive just on initial purchases, but on recurring monthly or cash shop purchases.  An MMO cannot survive unless lots of people are willing to shell out money continuously to pay server costs, etc.  That's why, no matter how many people actually paid to have the game developed, if those people aren't there when the game is launched, the game will fail.

To be honest, I don't think you could get a quarter of a million people to fund a game through Kickstarter, nor would a quarter of a million people be able to support a AAA-quality game on launch.

We simply disagree here.  I think a quarter million backers for an MMO is highly possible, especially a game of the type many fans have been crying out for for years.  Besides, it would be easy for a potential developer to have additional financing lined up as long as they meet a certain reserve amount through Kickstarter first.  I'd also add that most MMOs don't survive via your standard of survival as is, with normal development methods, so why would it hurt to try a different method?

Because you aren't going to Gamestop and helping to ensure that a game sees the light of day.  That's the real difference, not the fact that they both are early forms of ordering a box.  Kickstarter makes projects possible that otherwise might not be, which is the entire point.  Many people get a sense of pride and accomplishment from making things possible, but not feeling that way is your prerogative of course.

 

No, you're signing on to an ideal.  You're betting that somewhere down the line, the game that you threw some money at might come out and be a game you want to play.  Kickstarter is great for projects that are finished, or nearly so, and just need money for publication costs.  For something that is just a bunch of pictures on a page or a short proof-of-concept video, that will take 5 years or so to produce, not so much.

I know that the game I want to play today isn't the game I wanted to play 5 years ago, or 3 years ago, or maybe evne a year ago.  I've changed my mind dramatically over time because my life and my interests have changed over time.  I think the same is true of most players.  The majority of people who played EQ or UO would not play a similar game today.  They moved on.  While it isn't a big deal betting $50 on a project that sounds cool, even if you never play it, the developers still need guaranteed players at the end who can keep the servers up and running.

I just don't see it working out well.

You may be right, but there's really no way to ever know if no one tries.   Besides, I'm pretty sure most people that played (and enjoyed) EQ would love to see a new game of the same style come out today, though obviously with more streamlined features such as a map and quest log.  If Kickstarter is great for almost-finished products, why can't it also be great for initializing products that gain more financing at a later date?  This link shows something not very related to this discussion but it does prove that it's not impossible to obtain outside financing in the video game world (especially if a cause like this one can get funding - http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/major-league-gaming-secures-10-million-in-series-a-financing-from-ritchie-capital-to-build-worlds-first-professional-video-game-league-55394872.html).

 

Like I said earlier, I think there are issues here we'll never agree on, but there's no way to ever know unless someone actually tries to do it.  I'm not saying you're incorrect, but it's hard to say for sure until someone sees it through.

 

  GrumpyMel2

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1835

9/24/12 12:34:07 PM#1598

@Cephus,

Your definition of "good" is very subjective and you are assuming a very specific style of play to qualify under that scenario. In point of fact, players who are interested in a more "niche" style of player may be willing to surrender ALOT of the very expensive items that many AAA MMO's feature today (Cutscenes, Voice Acting, Hi Res graphics, etc) and still consider that game superior.  For example look at something like Starquest Online which was essentialy produced on ZERO funding, just a bunch of Developers working in thier spare time to put out a time of game they enjoy making....add a few million dollars worth of capital to clean up, bugfix and polish that game and you've got something that certainly was capable of supporting a niche audience.

Heck even your presumption of  a vast need for "content" presumes a primarly PVE focused game. Look at something like WWII Online which was a game that was able to support itself for what, a decade now, with absolutely ZERO content...just a map and players, because it's a PvP focused. There are alot of different way to do "content", and there are plenty games out there that can put together significant amounts without spending the fortunes that you are talking about. The cost to do "content" need not be that huge, it's the cost to do "content" with a particular style of presentation that can get vastly expensive.

While I agree with the general sentiment that MMO's are generaly beyond the scope of the kind of funds Kickstarter can raise, I think your $100 million baseline in order to produce a quality MMO is GROSSLY over-inflated....especialy when we are talking about niche audiences who's expectations are different then the mainstream. There are ALOT of projects being worked on with budgets in the $20-$50 Million range.....and frankly I don't see why it would be inconvievable to produce something capable of self-supporting in the $10-$20 million.

As far as TOR and it's $200 million budget...everything I've read from those with inside knowledge points to it being a text book excersize in mismanagement and a standard for the management practice of throwing money at problems in the hopes that somehow spending enough will result in them getting solved.

  Cephus404

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

9/24/12 2:08:08 PM#1599

I'm trying to make an apples-to-apples comparison here, the things that most people acknowledge are necessary or desireable to MMOs.  Sure, you can cut out a lot, but it very quickly stops being an MMO and honestly, I don't think the majority of pro-groupers would play a stripped down, inferior game, just to get grouping.  I just don't buy it.

Besides, the point I keep making is that the game has to survive and be profitable in order to continue operation.  If it gets released, fails spectacularly and shuts down, then the groupers are back at square one without a game to play.  The same goes for any niche game.  The only way for this idea to work is to have a game that makes money month after month after month and stays in operation.  Anything else is a failure and the people who are supposed to be served by such a game will no longer have a game to play.

And isn't that the whole point?

Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
Now Playing: None
Hope: None

  GrumpyMel2

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1835

9/24/12 3:17:00 PM#1600
Originally posted by Cephus404

I'm trying to make an apples-to-apples comparison here, the things that most people acknowledge are necessary or desireable to MMOs.  Sure, you can cut out a lot, but it very quickly stops being an MMO and honestly, I don't think the majority of pro-groupers would play a stripped down, inferior game, just to get grouping.  I just don't buy it.

Besides, the point I keep making is that the game has to survive and be profitable in order to continue operation.  If it gets released, fails spectacularly and shuts down, then the groupers are back at square one without a game to play.  The same goes for any niche game.  The only way for this idea to work is to have a game that makes money month after month after month and stays in operation.  Anything else is a failure and the people who are supposed to be served by such a game will no longer have a game to play.

And isn't that the whole point?

So WWII Online is a group/cooperative play based MMO that has been in continious operation for over a decade. The "hobby" built game StarQuest Online is quite group based and was still in operation the last time I checked.... granted no one is becoming a billionaire off them but they are able to sustain themselves.

Why do you assume a product has to be WoW or Walmart (and have those level of budgets)  in order to function as a business? I assure you the barber I've been going to for the last 10 years isn't branching out franchises and buying a private island in the South Pacific but he's made enough money to sustain himself and his business since the 1970's and his customers are satisfied. Does a business really need anything more then that?

You are saying it's "not possible" or implying the game "can't survive" but I've given you concrete examples where it actualy has been done...and for even less money (adjusted for inflation) then Lethargic has posited.

You seem to be saying that a game most do what TOR does (for example) when alot of us here seem to be saying.... "Yeah, we really have no interest in playing TOR.....and the things that it's fans find attractive about it really hold little interest for us." Furthermore, last time I checked EA's stockholders weren't all that happy with how TOR was doing.....and ironicaly alot of people on these boards have posted that they didn't consider it a "real MMO". despite it's vast budget.

I think you are projecting your own preferences on what an MMO has to have in order for you to be interested in it...onto others who might not share the same view. How big is the audience for X type of game...I honestly don't know....and neither do you unless you've paid for some serious market research. But there are games that have been able to sustain themselves for decades and serve thier customer bases during that time...for alot less then you've posited....and as far as Lethargic's concerns...isn't THAT what it's all about?

 

 

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